Packing tips

| 7/7/2009 2:45:52 PM

Tags: touring, packing,

Alison Green 

So you want to go across the country on your bike. It is never too early to start planning your trip and getting the gear ready. Planning a trip is one of life’s pleasures. Turning dreams into miles  what riding is all about!

If you ride a Gold Wing and tow a trailer, you probably don’t need any tips on compact packing there is enough packing space to bring almost anything. But for the rest of us, the process of getting all of our stuff secured to the bike is more of a problem.

I used to envy those who traveled by bike and stayed in motels at night. I figured packing would be a piece of cake without the tent and sleeping bag routine. Little did I know that motelling-it involves just as much stuff, just slightly different priorities. My personal arrangement is based on long-distance touring, one-up with camping gear. Riding with a passenger would necessitate a whole new mindset and the subsequent sharing of available packing space. I have not tried it.

With the exception of the saddlebags and a tankbag, most of my gear has been adopted from the camping fraternity. The decision about how you choose to travel (motel, camping, eating in restaurants, cooking) will determine your packing needs. The duration of the trip does not make much difference to the amount of gear required  four days or four weeks, it doesn’t really matter. Common sense and a basic idea of how you wish to travel are the best guidelines.

Front to back, the foundations include a tankbag, panniers, a bedroll, and a small tail trunk. I dislike having stuff bungied haphazardly on the bike.  There is probably nothing wrong with doing so as long as everything is secure, but I simply don’t like it.  I have also found that commercial tail trunks are too big and too high for my liking, and I suffer from an irresistible temptation to overload same; so I have adapted a small, lockable Pelican case for this purpose and have been very happy with the results. If my worldly possessions don’t fit within the confines of this system, I jettison a few things and repack. My wardrobe does not include an evening gown, but I do always carry one presentable outfit.

David Blair
7/10/2009 1:19:41 PM

Thanks for the tips on packing the camping gear. What is